The Wall by John Lanchester

The Wall

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2019Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall―an enormous concrete barrier around its entire coastline. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and are a constant threat. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea a...

Details The Wall

TitleThe Wall
Release DateMar 5th, 2019
PublisherW.W. Norton & Company
GenreFiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Reviews The Wall

  • Marchpane
    Dull, pedestrian dystopiaI’m not really sure who the target readership is for The Wall , John Lanchester’s Booker-longlisted novel about a post climate change future. As a work of genre fiction – a cli-fi dystopia – it is derivative and stale. It’s also unsatisfying as literary fiction, with flat prose, undeveloped themes and cardboard characters. The callow young narrator and a tendency to over-explain the obvious might tip it towards...
  • Meike
    Now Nominated for the Booker Prize 2019 The genius of Lanchester's "The Wall" is that this dystopia simply envisions what might happen if we go on like this: The sea levels have risen dramatically due to climate change, Britain has build a wall around the whole island, and people who flee from the South to the North are combated like enemies in a war. Is this the most subtle book ever written? Hell no, but this author does not seem to think that ...
  • Peter Boyle
    We're not short on dystopian stories these days. One would think that readers might like to escape the daily news cycle of doom and gloom, but our appetite for apocalyptic thrillers shows no signs of abating. The Wall is one of the more considered and thoughtful offerings. If you're a fan of the kind of speculative fiction that Margaret Atwood does so well, you might want to check it out.The story is set sometime in the near future. A major clima...
  • Hugh
    Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019My fifth book from this year's Booker longlist, this is the first which I think is lucky to be there. I don't read much dystopian fiction but I have already read two much more imaginative ones this year, the best of which was Zed. Neither is this Lanchester's best work - he has never improved on his debut The Debt to Pleasure, though Fragrant Harbour came close.We meet the narrator Joseph Kavanagh (as others ha...
  • Ron Charles
    John Lanchester’s new novel, “The Wall,” sounds like the best-timed book of the year. It arrives smack dab in the heat of a constitutional crisis over President Trump’s determination to build a barrier along our southern border — Congress be damned.Lanchester, who lives in London, is well-equipped to write about this confrontation tearing up America. Not only is he one of the best financial journalists, he’s also a novelist with a kee...
  • Kathleen
    Booker Prize Longlist 2019. Lanchester’s dystopian novel explores a world where sea levels have risen dramatically after ‘the Change’, land is scarce and in need of protection from ‘the Others’. Thus, the country (similar to the U.K.) has erected ‘the Wall’ and manned it with ‘Defenders’ to keep out water and unwelcome immigrants—a literal Brexit.Above all, The Wall is an atmospheric novel. We meet the narrator, Joseph Kavanag...
  • Jenna
    "I had been brought up not to think about the Others in terms of where they came from or who they were, to ignore all that—they were just Others." Wall:  "A high thick masonry structure forming a long rampart or an enclosure chiefly for defense" . (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)For millennia, humans have built walls to keep people in -- and to keep people out.  We've all unfortunately heard trump's spiel about how we need to build a wall to ke...
  • Gumble's Yard
    I read this book due to its long listing for the 2019 Booker Prize, although I have in fact read all four of the author’ should previous novels and his most famous work of non-fiction. I loved his Whitbread (now Costa) First `novel prize winning “The Debt to Pleasure” but struggled to engage with much of his writing since and had decided to skip this book (unless prize nominated) based on that and on the early reviews I had read of the book...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    This is a dystopian novel about climate change, nationalism, and immigration, as much as it is about human nature and basic survival. The book started out slowly with the narrator basically giving a lengthy dissertation about the wall and how the rising sea levels caused the disruption of society. This is not the most interesting way to do world-building. The book did pick up about halfway through when there was finally some action in the story. ...
  • Trudie
    * 3.5 *This reading experience ended up being ok despite all indicators to the contrary. Look, I don't think this is a literary-prize winning effort, but I enjoyed it. As a dystopia it takes a fairly minimalist approach to world-building : take a big wall, add water, baby politicians and some "Others" and that is your backstory. Generally, it is lacklustre as far as dystopias are concerned. However, I approached this as a type of team-bonding nov...
  • Collin
    LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 BOOKER PRIZE.The first thing we learn about the wall is that it is cold. Not just your everyday run of the mill cold. The cold that makes you wish you were dead, or at least somewhere else. The second thing we find out is that when you’re sent to the wall for your tour, it will last two years. These two points never change, but the men who you will be on tour with do. The obvious questions spring to mind, why was the wal...
  • Ova - Excuse My Reading
    A brave new world for millennials, this is.Full review soon
  • Jonathan Pool
    June 16, 2015: ... Donald Trump announces his campaign for the presidency and first mentions his idea to build a southern border wall.“I will build a great wall ― and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me ―and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words John Lanchester chose a great title for his latest novel. It’s unambiguo...
  • Dianne
    This book is long-listed for the 2019 Booker Prize, so that made it a must read for me. I try to read all the Booker long-list novels every year. Reviewers have not been kind to this one, so I was not expecting to like it - but I did! Do I think it’s Booker-worthy? No. It was (for me) an interesting but lightweight dystopian look at a possible future where walls abound to keep immigrants (called “Others” here) out and where climate change (...
  • David
    Dystopia Lite, heavy on predictability and with more than a dash of YA seasoning, served up with extra helpings of cold (types 1 and 2).I'm afraid the best I can do is damn this one with faint praise. It's quick. It's not terribly complicated. The story itself lies closer to potential reality than many Bleak Future fables and is therefore disturbing at times. If forced to choose between The Wall and Snap, however, Sophie would probably give them ...
  • Anita Pomerantz
    If I don't over intellectualize to much, I have to say I quite enjoyed reading this dystopian survival story.  But, other than the fact it was topical (climate change, walls/border control, younger generation blaming the elder for the world's woes), I am not really sure how this gets nominated for such a prominent literary prize.But, I enjoyed the narrative voice of a young man serving his mandatory military service and I thought a lot of his em...
  • Krista
    It's cold on the Wall. That's the first thing everybody tells you, and the first thing you notice when you're sent there, and it's the thing you think about all the time you're on it, and it's the thing you remember when you're not there anymore. It's cold on the Wall. The Wall is set in a cli-fi dystopia that extends modern realities to an admittedly believable future – global warming has raised the ocean levels and scorched the lands of devel...
  • Doug
    3.5, rounded down.Had to mull this one, since I didn't want its Booker longlist nomination to cloud my judgement of the book itself, either way. I don't think it is quite the anomaly others have decried - to me it firmly belongs to the same category of 'Adventure Tales for Grown-up Boys' as such previously pegged Booker tomes as The North Water and The Narrow Road to the Deep North; as well as such dystopian parables as The Water Cure and Exit We...
  • Kate
    When non-genre authors write genre fiction (in this case cli-fi, sci-fi or future history genre), they never seen willing to flesh out the details, leaving the reader having to make it up in their head.I wanted to know more about the political situation, I wanted to know more about the climate change impacts on the world of The Wall. I wanted to know more about The Captain's experience as an Other, and to know more about the people in Britain who...
  • Navidad Thélamour
    Review to come!
  • Karen Whittaker
    John Lanchester is an established author with a big fan base and so when I saw that the Telegraph Book Club had chosen this book as its book of the month for February I felt I could not go far wrong. All the reviews I read beforehand indicated that this book was the Orwell "1984" of its time.So definitely not the case in my opinion.This book has at one point in the early stages a long list of words repeated over and over again - particularly the ...
  • Nicky
    2.5* stars rounded up. A quick, easy read but more than a tad YA-ish for the Booker long-list.
  • Carrie
    Update: Longlisted for Man Booker 2019While this is a timely book in terms of current political rhetoric and climate change deniers, this is not the most powerful dystopian or speculative fiction that has been published.Original ReviewSpeculative post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction with a hint of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Kevin Costner's Waterworld film
  • Barry Pierce
    My first Lanchester and probably not the best place to start. In The Wall a wall has been built around the UK after an event called The Change and our protagonist, Kavanagh, has just began his service as a guard on the Wall. Marketed as a dystopia, I think it's more befitting to call it speculative.Yet Lanchester doesn't really have anything to say with this novel. The whole thing feels like something Channel 4 would produce as a limited series s...
  • Paul Fulcher
    It seems idiotic now and it seemed idiotic then, but I had no idea what else to say.says our narrator Kavanagh early on, which is perhaps not far of my opinion of John Lanchester’s financial journalism, so I was interested if his novels were any better.  The Wall feels like a book written to hit as many topical buttons as possible within a very simple story.  The concept combines the (very important) inter-generational warnings of an imminent...
  • Neil
    The Wall is nothing if it is not topical. There is a lot in the news in 2019 (and probably for a while to come) about climate change (rising sea levels included), the impact of Brexit on the UK, the (mis)treatment of refugees, and, less so, the generational conflict between old and young (the old voted for Brexit leaving the young to live with the consequences).Lanchester takes all of these themes and moulds them into a dystopian tale. In the not...
  • Mayke (acozyliving)☕️
    See full review on my blog (link in bio) ---------------This book is about a long wall, where Kavanagh has to serve 2 years of his life as a Defender guarding the wall. On the inside of the wall is vast land, where the people are living that didn't have the bad luck of being flooded. Outside the wall are the Others, the people who were less lucky and lost their home and land to the rising water-levels. The book tells the story from the pov of Kav...
  • Kathryn
    This is a slender book and so should have been a quick read but I found myself slowing right down in order to read every single word. Not a lot happens and by the end everything, and nothing, has changed. It's really beautiful and it's made me think a lot about asylum seekers and what else I, personally, can do today to help slow climate change.
  • Katie Long
    If you think, after reading the blurb, that you have the gist of this novel and know where it's going, you definitely do. Everything about it, setting, plot, characterizations, even the message the author seems to be putting across is all just too simple. There is no complexity in any of it to dig into. And yet, the plot points are still over explained. To the point that even the most crucial events, that should be exciting, lose all impact. I th...
  • Sidharth Vardhan
    It tries to start well. A wall to keep riding sea level and immigrants out. Okay, reminds of Game of Thrones' Wall though. Children don't like parents and accuse them of changing world? A bit hard to digest but okay. But sea pirates in a world where trade has ceased and near coast of a country which has a wall in place of beaches? Are you kidding me? Why would anyone want to do that?First couple of chapters were good but then there are chapters b...